INDIANAPOLIS - It's a big week for IndyCar, with a double-header this weekend in Toronto, a new president at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and a new animated film based on the famed oval about to hit theaters.
The movie "Turbo," set for release next week, comes at a crucial time for the sport. It provides the kind of publicity any sport craves, but for IMS and the series, it's a portal to what executives hope will be a new generation of race fans.
A preview audience got to see the film based around the Indianapolis 500 on Saturday.
"I really have the best hopes that this will be the event and the movie that might spur an entire generation of new fans," said Marty Pickett, an Indy 500 fan.
That goal is shared by the relatively new management team in place at the speedway and with the series.
The sport lost its luster during a 14-year war between the Indy Racing League and Champ Car.
The film debuts while the IndyCar series is rebuilding and reinventing itself. Among the significant challenges are weak TV rating and disappointing attendance at races.
Doug Boles, who was named IMS president earlier this week, said getting fans back is a priority.
"How do we create something that makes people say, 'I don't want to watch it on TV at home. I'm going to skip the soccer game this morning, and I'm going to go experience the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,'" Boles said. "It's a tough challenge for us, but Mark Miles, Jeff Belskus and the entire team at the speedway, we think that we can make some impact."
The movie, potentially a blockbuster, could bolster the long-term goal for IMS and IndyCar, intent on recapturing the glory days.